Tonight, I had my chance to shoot a basketball game. Yale was playing Columbia and I got a pass to sit on the baseline at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on the Yale Campus in New Haven.
I haven’t really shot a lot of sports. I’ve been to some Major League Baseball games, shooting from the stands, and stood on the sideline at the UCONN vs Army game a few years ago at Rentschler Field in Hartford. This was my first attempt at hoops. I am humbled.
Shooting basketball is much more difficult than I had imagined. it took about sixty seconds to come to that conclusion!
First, an observation I made after shooting the UCONN football game. Still photographers can get great shots, but they seldom get ‘the big play’ the way TV cameras do. Still photography doesn’t cover the field the same way. You often have to aim and wait for the play to get to you.
Basketball poses even more problems. It moves very quickly and is played in a relatively dimly lit gym. My lenses, fine lenses for an amateur like me, are just too ‘slow¹’.
There were a few professional shooters at the game as well. I needed four to eight times as much light for the same shot!
I wanted to keep my shutter speed as fast as possible, so I compensated in other ways, which is why all the shots are very, very grainy. It might look like a nice artistic touch, but it wouldn’t be there if I had any choice.
In this game, Yale was blown out. Columbia was red hot. I haven’t seen the stats, but it seemed they just couldn’t miss a shot!
There was a a lot going on off the court. As with most colleges, Yale has a cheer squad They also have an unusual pep band, the Yale Precision Marching Band.
I didn’t see them march, though after the game they did play while crawling on their knees!
I felt very comfortable in these surroundings. It’s a shame I was so awful as a student growing up, because I would have fit well at Yale. And, my guess it’s, it’s much more prestigious to be thrown out of Yale than it was to be thrown out of Emerson College!
None of the shots from tonight will be printed. On the other hand, there is a little artistic merit there. I put a few of them in my gallery, if you’d like to take a look.
¹ – When a photographer talks about a slow lens, it’s a lens that needs more light. The name comes from what you must do to compensate – slow down the shutter. The slower the shutter, the less sharp the action will be. It’s a vicious cycle.